Bible Reference: 1 Samuel 1:10; 16-18
Bible Text: 10 Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the LORD.
16 Don’t think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.” 17 “In that case,” Eli said, “go in peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.” 18 “Oh, thank you, sir!” she exclaimed. Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad.
Bible Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)
I would like for us to reflect on our personal prayers, both private and public. Now I would like for us to re-read the referenced scripture again, in fact why not click on the Bible Reference link and read the whole context (just 9 verses) and carefully note the heart of Hannah as she prayed. Friends, I am not asking you to judge (other than yourself), but I want you to really grasp the sincerity of the prayer by Hannah, and consider a few things:
- Deep, Earnest Prayer – When last have you truly been concerned enough about a specific item or person, that you went before God in deep anguish and weeping bitterly? To help you understand this terminology I also read other translations that describe Hannah as going before God ‘miserable’ and ‘terribly upset’. Friends, this is not something we can conjure up and go before God with a fake cry, for these feelings are expressions of our heart. And I believe because of the sincerity and deep concern that the praying believer might have, the Bible speaks to this in several ways: In Psalm 30:5, the Bible says: “Weeping will be followed by joy“; In Isaiah 53:3–9, the Bible declares that ‘Jesus understands sorrow‘; In Matthew 5:4 the Bible declares “God promises comfort to those who experience sorrow; and in Revelation 21:3–4 – “Sorrow will not exist in God’s Kingdom“. This gives me the distinct impression that our Father is concerned about the things that we are deeply troubled by!
- Others may mistake our deep concern – Our pride may prevent us from openly expressing to our God, as we may easily become concerned about what others may think. Notice in these verses that Eli thought that Hannah had come to the temple drunk, for she was praying in such earnest and anguish, that he had probably never seen before from most who came to pray. God already knows your heart friend, so to go before God with a heavy heart and pretend to be happy, is like faking what you really feel or want to express to God. Let us learn to be open and honest with God;
- Joy results from a heart that has unloaded all concern before God! Prior to going to the temple Hannah was unable to eat because she was so upset. After her encounter at the temple, Hannah left quite different, for she was no longer sad, and she was able to eat again. I believe this is an example of what we can expect when we pray to the Father in deep, honest concern.
Friends, I have been desperate in prayer before, and I’m sure that you have been at one time or another in your life. This scripture reminded me of the need to really take to heart those things that God impresses upon us, and then open up our hearts before Him in prayer. To go before God in a casual, superficially happy mood for something that is really bearing on our heart, makes me wonder if God doesn’t look at His kids and say “Really?? You are so concerned that you are actually showing a smile on your face??”. Friends, I realize that God knows our heart, but I also believe that He wants us to be transparent before Him – wide open honest with Him, even to the extent that our emotions may be impacted and publicly expressed, if need be. Hannah impacted Eli’s life when he realized how sincere she really was about her prayer. Will others really know the sincerity of your heart and be impacted by it?
Father God, thank You for looking deep into our hearts and knowing our most innermost thoughts. You created us so that our emotions would reflect our heart, yet we often try so hard to suppress our emotions because of what those around us might think. Please help us to be straight up honest with You, regardless of who might be around us to witness our deepest emotions. You have promised us in Your Word that ‘joy comes in the morning’, and I believe your intent was to help us realize that there would be times that our hearts are deeply saddened because of our own needs, or those of family or friends that we may connect with You on, and pray for. Please help my readers and I to face You with opened hearts today, so that You may fill us with Your immense love and care. We are Yours, heavenly Father, and we sincerely need You in every aspect of our lives, especially when our hearts are saddened. AMEN!
If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to www.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!